Towards a common countryside policy

3 November 2017

Farmers, foresters, landowners, businesses and environmentalists will come together at a major Westminster conference designed to start shaping a consensus on future rural policy and funding after Brexit. Towards a Common Countryside Policy takes place on 29 November 2017 in London

The centrepiece of Towards A Common Countryside Policy will be a panel discussion on what different groups think a shared rural future looks like - featuring the National Farmers Union, WWF-UK, CLA, The Woodland Trust and Confor: promoting forestry and wood.

Stuart Goodall, Chief Executive of event organiser Confor, said: "We wanted to bring a broad range of rural partners together to discuss this issue - because we believe mature and positive discussion about opportunities and challenges is the only way to find a meaningful way forward for our rural economy, environment and communities."

Dr Thérèse Coffey, the UK Government's forestry minister, will open the event, before short presentations from five speakers, including Mr Goodall. The other speaker are: Minette Batters, National Farmers' Union (NFU); Will Ashley-Cantello, WWF-UK; Beccy Speight, The Woodland Trust; and Mark Tufnell, CLA.

The panel will identify areas of potential common interest as well as considering the major challenges which need to be overcome.

The conference will also hear from individuals who have grappled with the challenges of land use policy under CAP and how they are looking to the future. The event concludes with a cross-party political panel discussion to reflect on the issues raised throughout the day and discuss where we go next.

"The forestry sector is playing a significant leadership role in the debate about what future rural policy and funding might look like after Brexit. Tilhill Forestry is delighted to sponsor this event, which seeks to open up meaningful and productive discussions to  identify how different land uses can work together to develop a common and mutually beneficial countryside policy", said George McRobbie, Managing Director of conference sponsor Tilhill Forestry.

Will Ashley-Cantello, Chief Adviser on Forests for WWF-UK, said: "There has been a clear signal from Government that environmental outcomes will be at front and centre of their thinking on our rural future - and this event is an opportunity to discuss how we can make that happen with a range of parties. This is timely as we are looking for ambitious goals and a clear action plan to be set out in the Government’s imminent 25 Year Environment Plan.”